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great games, old letters and tragic legacies

August 2, 2010

Some items that caught my eye:

WAR

The end of (military) history? In Salon.com, Andrew J. Bacevich asserts that “the West no longer looks … triumphant. … (E)vents during the first decade of the present century have delivered history to another endpoint of sorts. Although Western liberalism may retain considerable appeal, the Western way of war has run its course.” (Photo from PopularPics.com)

The Great (Double) Game: In the New York Times, Tom Friedman says, “China supports Pakistan, seeks out mining contracts in Afghanistan and lets America make Afghanistan safe for Chinese companies, all while smiling at the bloody nose America is getting in Kabul because anything that ties down the U.S. military makes China’s military happy. America, meanwhile, sends its soldiers to fight in Afghanistan at the same time that it rejects an energy policy that would begin to reduce our oil consumption, which indirectly helps to fund the very Taliban schools and warriors our soldiers are fighting against. So why put up with all this duplicity? Is President Obama just foolish?”

Obama’s Legacy: Afghanistan: And on the New York Review of Books blog, Garry Wills reveals details of a dinner he and other historians had with President Obama, where they urged the president to give up on hopes for victory in the Afghan war. A subsequently despondent Wills writes that the “President might have been saved from the folly that will be his lasting legacy. But now we are ten years into a war that could drag on for another ten, and could catch in its trammels the next president, the way Vietnam tied up president after president.”

HISTORY

What was for FDR’s eyes only is now for yours: A little late, but here’s an interesting story from the Washington Post on “a newly acquired trove of 5,000 pages of Roosevelt documents that the National Archives said … should be a feast for historians of the president who led the nation through the Depression and most of World War II.” Included are letters from Lucy Mercer Rutherfurd, FDR’s lover.

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From → HISTORY, WAR

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